Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Carbon Offsets

I've been wanting to know how much carbon dioxide (CO2) a typical small car produces in a year when driven on a daily basis. I found several sites on the internet that calculate the size of your carbon footprint for just about everything (household, transportation, etc). Here is one of those carbon calculators.

It is said that the average US vehicle has a footprint of 10,383 LBS of CO2 per year. When making my own calculation based on a small car and less mileage travelled (ex. 15,000 KM or 9320 miles), I came to 6029 LBS or 2.7347 tons per year. That is how much CO2 is out of the air when a car like this one has all it's fossil fuel pollutants removed when it is converted to electric.

A couple of nights ago, CBC Doc Zone aired an episode called "Carbon Hunters" which looked at the concept of "Carbon Credits" or "Carbon Offsets" as one of the ways to slow climate change. This approach is not the best but it was deemed necessary and adopted by the UN because other approaches were taking too long. Something that I did not know is that carbon credits have become quite the commodity and can be traded for cash on the Chicago Climate Exchange and other international carbon exchanges.

- One metric ton of CO2 out of the air for one year = One Carbon Credit
- There is one ton of carbon in 3.67 tons of CO2

Apparently, there is a "gold rush" for carbon offsets and many speculators are jumping in for a piece of the action. I don't know exactly how much one carbon credit is worth today, but I know that Denmark's carbon tax is $25 for every ton of carbon. Watch the film to learn about this. I am sure you will find it intriguing.

Watch Carbon Hunters online in it's entirety.

I also recommend the film "The Story Of Cap & Trade".

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